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How to Wear a Babydoll Dress Without Looking Frumpy

Wendy is a journalist who has been writing online since 2007 on topics such as plus size fashion, learning languages, and traveling.

The babydoll dress is once again in the fashion spotlight for spring and summer. To look stunning while wearing this style, make sure you choose the right length, match it with high heels, and get proper support from your undergarments.

Me wearing a babydoll style dress.

Me wearing a babydoll style dress.

What Is a Babydoll Dress?

If you have been living on another planet and have failed to see Hollywood icons like Sandra Bullock wearing this type of dress, then it is not too late to catch up with this fashion. The style is, as you can imagine, highly inspired by the babydoll nightgown. It is feminine and flirty, and ideal for those days when you are feeling a bit bloated. It usually skims gracefully over curves and accentuates your best assets, such as beautiful breasts or a great pair of legs.

To add glamour, wear high heels and a matching statement handbag.

To add glamour, wear high heels and a matching statement handbag.

How to Wear a Babydoll Dress

The thing about this type of dress is that it can make you look incredibly sexy or horrendously ridiculous. If you have an ample bosom and a relatively flat stomach, then this look can make you look both sweet and sexy. However, if you have heavy thighs, opt for a longer version.

Get Proper Support From Your Undergarments

This tip goes for every item of clothing. Proper undergarments that hold everything in place can make a big difference to your overall look. If you want to wear a babydoll dress with a deep plunging neckline, choose a push-up bra to enhance your assets. Highlighting your assets will drive attention away from problem areas and will give you the appearance of an hourglass figure. Some Victoria's Secret babydoll dresses come with built-in brassieres.

Choose the Proper Length

Just a few inches above the knee is best. If you are petite, you can wear it a bit shorter, but not too short. Bear in mind that babydoll dresses are flowy, and they will "show off" on a windy day. This brings me to the next rule: never wear one during a windy day or for doing vigorous dancing like ceilidh or salsa, unless, of course, you want to show your "jewels" on every turn!

High Heels

Try to pair your dress with wedges—they are not too flashy but give you good height. If you are wearing it to the beach, choose flip flops with a little heel or wedge for a bit of glamour.

Printed Patterns Look Better on Tall Girls

If you are petite, colour-only dresses will look nicer on you. If you have a small bust, you can give the impression of enhanced breasts by choosing a style in which the bust colour is different from the rest of the dress.

To Avoid the "Pregnant" Look

To avoid looking "pregnant" or bloated, wear appropriate makeup and avoid going out with a "morning sickness" look. Wear high heels and walk tall! Look at Rihanna in the picture below. She is wearing a babydoll with high heels and proper makeup, and she just looks stunning!

Rihanna in a babydoll dress with a pair of strappy heels and a pearl necklace.

Rihanna in a babydoll dress with a pair of strappy heels and a pearl necklace.

How to Wear a Babydoll Dress if You Are 40+

  • If you are over 40, I would recommend wearing darker shades and heavier fabrics.
  • Another tip for the over-40 group is to wear long leggings. Leggings provide a more sophisticated look.
On the left, Sienna Miller wearing the Balenciaga babydoll dress. On the right, Katie Holmes wearing the same dress seven months later!

On the left, Sienna Miller wearing the Balenciaga babydoll dress. On the right, Katie Holmes wearing the same dress seven months later!

Origins of the Babydoll Dress

In 1956, the movie Baby Doll, starring Carroll Baker, gave origin to the popularity of the babydoll nightgown—the costume worn by Baker's childlike and sensual character in the film. Although the film was heavily censored and banned in some countries, the babydoll style gained force, and more than 50 years later, it is still fashionable.

Over the years, the babydoll has made a jump from the bedroom to the high street, where women of all shapes enjoy the freedom of wearing this seductive, but playful style.

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Read More From Bellatory

Everybody says that babydoll dresses make you look pregnant, so they are the perfect thing to wear when you actually are pregnant.

Everybody says that babydoll dresses make you look pregnant, so they are the perfect thing to wear when you actually are pregnant.

Why Should You Wear This Style?

The babydoll dress keeps coming back in style over the years because it is very "forgiving." With an empire-waisted dress, you don't need to be extremely thin to look good and sexy. It allows you to show off a nice bust and great legs and hides a not-so-toned tummy and the hips area.

How to Choose the Perfect Dress

If you want one that will last for a long time, regardless of fashion trends, go for a long-wearing fabric, like wool or silk. An A-line shape or a trapeze style is flattering on most women. Avoid the extremely voluminous styles, as these can make most women look pregnant.

The babydoll dress is perfect for everyday wear, and by adding some accessories, you can change it from a daytime look to a nighttime outfit that's perfect for going out for drinks after work.

Jessica Alba wearing an Isabel Marant denim dress paired with chunkier boots.

Jessica Alba wearing an Isabel Marant denim dress paired with chunkier boots.

Horrors to Avoid

  • Don't wear it too short. It is true that a short dress will make your legs look longer, but wearing it too short will only make you look "tarty."
  • Shorter styles are only suitable for young girls. If you are over 30, a hemline just a few inches above the knee is more flattering.
  • Avoid lace trim. A babydoll dress with a lace trim looks too much like a nightgown!
  • Keep accessories to a minimum.
Kate Mara's extra-long babydoll dress at the 2019 Golden Globes

Kate Mara's extra-long babydoll dress at the 2019 Golden Globes

© 2008 Wendy Iturrizaga


Jason McFoy from Pakistan on August 12, 2020:

I am from Pakistan, and i find out that only best online lingerie store in Pakistan is

SClemmons from the Carolina Coast on November 22, 2018:

Please don't take this the wrong way, but you look great in the baby doll dress.

Christian Louboutin Heels on July 14, 2011:

I read with great interest.Thanks for you sharing.

chocomousse on June 22, 2011:

Very simple and airy babydoll dresses. You can feel good for any occasion in Ladies tunics like this

fabgirl21 on March 27, 2011:

Thanks for the hub! I love Petra Nemcova's dress! I would definitely like to own one like that. My sister just bought a beautiful blue babydoll dress from Jovani and she looked pretty good in it. I think I might have to steal it from her :x

dresses on February 28, 2011:

I love baby doll dresses, they look so cute and casual. Great for the summer.

mysisters on January 20, 2011:

Great Hub. These are some nice selections on baby doll dresses. They come in so many different colors and styles and you can dress them up or down.

china wholesalers on September 03, 2010:

This is a great post and makes me think of where I can fit in. I do a little bit of everything mentioned here and I guess I have to find my competitive advantage.

Rachel on June 17, 2010:

I just found out I'm pregnant (for the first time) and wondering if a cute baby doll and high heeled sandals would look good if done right.

Babydoll on June 03, 2010:

I admire what you have done here. Well, this is my first visit to your blog! Looks great! Keep up the good work!

Babydoll on June 03, 2010:

I've been reading a few posts and actually I enjoy yours.

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot for the tips!

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on April 16, 2010:

gwennies pen: The great thing about a babydoll dress is that if you look carefully enough you will find a cut to suit every shape and age.

Kimberly: Babydoll dresses are a staple in my wardrobe, they are great when I don't know what to wear or when I am filling a bit "bloated" they hide all imperfections and enhance my loved areas :)

kimberlyslyrics on April 15, 2010:

Hands Down my favorite style of dress. I live in Canada and don't find this style often so mail order I use and Victoria Secrets has adorable ones

just loved this hub, need to go

must buy new dress


Kimberly, Thanks

gwennies pen on January 09, 2010:

I use to wear baby doll nighties. This style in a dress is flattering. I appreciate you sharing this hub, even though I am petite and older. Thanks for the tips where to find them. I guess I like the feminine look as I am a bit old-fashioned. It is interesting to see how fashion makes its full circle, isn't it? :)

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on January 08, 2010:

Glad you liked it!

Van Woods from California, CA on January 08, 2010:

Greta Hub and An Amazing Collection.....

Thanks very much!

Van Woods, California CA

Hunter Riley from Nashville on December 16, 2009:

Nice hub. A baby doll dress has always been a favorite of mine. It's such a fun summertime item of clothing. Always light and very comfortable. Dress it up with sexy high heels like these: or stay with traditional flats or even flip flops. Such a versatile dress.

bruce520 on December 15, 2009:

Great hub!

I like to share this babydoll dresses link also.

Really chic dresses!

Erin Bower from Georgia on September 28, 2009:

awesome the gorgeous pics!

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on September 03, 2009:

iwhcpanties: maybe after reading this she will try on a couple next time she goes shopping... It is all about finding the right cut to enhance one's figure.

iwhcpanties on September 02, 2009:

This is nice, I love the dress’s and wish my wife would wear them, or what we call sun dress’s anyway.

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on September 01, 2009:

scenechika1234: yes, too short is never a good idea at any age.

scenechika1234 on September 01, 2009:

i think she made a good point about too short baby doll dresses because you don't want to buy a dress that is too short for you. i might only be 15 but i know what im talking about because a girl started that "too short" baby doll dress trend and got a lot of girls in trouble. i don't wear a lot of dresses but i would wear that dress! i think that they are absoluteley beautiful no matter what your body shape (type) is.

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on August 31, 2009:

I am glad you all like the babydoll dresses. They are so flatering that one looks great every single time wearing one of those!

Leanne on August 31, 2009:

I love the dress Nicki Hilton is wearing :)

very cute, and very flattering!

Designer store on August 11, 2009:

Interesting Post!

orientantique on August 05, 2009:

The above is beautiful girls with attractive fashion.

Staci-Barbo7 from North Carolina on August 02, 2009:

I love the baby doll top, as does my daughter. To create an adorable yet modest look, we pair the tops with leggings.

Priyanka Swamy from Concord, CA on April 21, 2009:

Babydoll dresses are great for spring and summer. They can be casual or dressy. Great tips on finding the best babydoll dresses for your body and some really cute dresses.

cheap wedding dress on March 30, 2009:

I love babydoll dress, I prepare to buy 2-3 pieces for the coming summer. Thanks for sharing.

cheap wedding dress on March 29, 2009:

Nice hub! I like babydoll dress, and wanna buy some for myself this summer. Thanks for sharing. Those pics looks attractive and sweet.

singapore fashion on March 24, 2009:

very nice dresses and great hub. keep it.

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on March 15, 2009:

Coast Dresses and JennifersJumpers: you are welcome. The great thing about a babydoll dress is that there is one for every style and age: long, short, colourful, monochromatic, summery, vintage, dressy... and the list goes on!

JennifersJumpers on March 15, 2009:

Thanks for showing different styles of the babydoll dress. Everyone doesn't want cleaving showing! I really liked the vintage dress.

Coast Dresses on December 21, 2008:

I totally agree that there is a babydoll style for any age. My mum thought she couldn't wear one but I went shopping with her and we found a lovely shrug to go with her dress and she didn't look like "mutton dressed as lamb" like she thought she would lol

sherlynavia from United States on October 15, 2008:

Great hub! Paris Hilton babydoll dress is great. I love babydoll dresses. Thanks for sharing.

sun goddess from davao city, philippines on September 26, 2008:

seen one in marks and spencer recently in my sojourn in Sinagore and the one that victoria beckham wore in the net... didn't know it would make such a come back since... i dunno... the 80's or the 90's.... looks absolutely cute but i don't think i could wear one here... :) it's summer here 365 days in a year...

ideaman21 from Chicago, IL on September 24, 2008:

I want to thank you for making me aware of the 1956 film. I had never heard of it and I love classic film. Its amazing where you can find a gem in this world when you are looking for something else.

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on September 09, 2008:

sun goddess: Dresses are so cute and feminine. I also like the short babydoll style in long sleeves for winter, worn with boots looks very casual and chic.

BTW have you seen the new leather dresses? they are absolutely gorgeous...

sun goddess from davao city, philippines on September 08, 2008:

great hub!!!! i absolutely loooooooooooooove baby doll dresses.... no, i loooooooooooove dresses..... :) it's cute, fun and flirty.... embelished sandals seem to work for me though when i'm wearing baby doll dresses.. :) but you're right about the wedges and heels part... they look absolutely divine.... thanks for the tips!

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on August 28, 2008:

Om Paramapoonya: You are right, stick to short dresses to make your legs look longer. I do like long dresses, which seem to be all the rage in Paris just now, but as I am not very tall, they are not flattering for me neither.

Paranoid86: The dresses are cute or sexy depending on how you wear them. that is one of the reasons why I like them.

paranoid86 on August 28, 2008:

nice hub, very up to date in fashion world.

the dress were really cute.

Om Paramapoonya on August 27, 2008:

Nice hub! I actually have a lot of baby doll dresses myself. The reason I like them is that I'm short and long dresses just don't look good on me. So I guess I'm going to stick with this trend for a while. :-)

Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on August 23, 2008:

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :)

2patricias: I think that there is a baby doll dress for every age, you just need to find the most appropiate one for your shape and age, and of course, you should wear the rigth accessories with it to avoid looking out of place :)

Isabella Snow on August 18, 2008:

Yes! I love this, I'm going to see if I can find one for me!

desert blondie from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen on August 18, 2008:

Fun hub...this is a look I was surprised to see make such a strong comeback...but it's certainly a comfortable style that hides a lot of tummy flaws that USA women suffer from right now.

Sapristi! on August 13, 2008:

More girls should re-conceptualize the babydoll look. And also read your article. I see all these stick-thin girls looking 5 months pregnant in these dresses! ...maybe I'm just jealous 'cause I can't pull it off ;)

ausmark627 from Victoria, Australia on August 12, 2008:

Great stuff! I love baby doll dresses, but used to have difficulty pulling it off. Thanks for the new info!

Auction Dresses on August 12, 2008:

Good info. Love your hub. The black and white babydoll dress looks so light and summery.

topstuff on August 11, 2008:

Oh i know too much about baby doll dress,i think yes its not very late.

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on August 11, 2008:

Good hub. This is a look for the young! After a certain age baby dolls are not flattering.

Annie Couture from Colorado on August 10, 2008:

great hub, great look!

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